This heartachingly tender Coca Cola brisket recipe, a Southern classic, draws on just four ingredients—including, natch, a can of Coca Cola. We can assure you that we’re hearing from everyone that the braised brisket that results is way more than the sum of its parts. Although we’ve witnessed about as many different ways to tweak this as there are cooks who’ve made it. Some folks first coat the beef with a dry rub. Or swap ketchup or barbecue sauce for the chili sauce. Others toss a heap of sliced onions in the pan. Or strew chopped carrots, potatoes, or sweet potatoes around the brisket. Many first marinate the brisket overnight in a couple cans of Coke before draining and proceeding with a new can of Coke. Lots slather the final roast with barbecue sauce and return it to the oven, uncovered, for a few minutes. We could go on. That said, while you’re welcome to make this recipe your own, many folks—including our recipe testers whose comments are found below—are quite fond of it simply as is.–David Leite

*Kosher-For-Passover Coke

If you’re being observant for Passover, you’ll want to be mindful of seeking out kosher-for-Passover Coke. But we bet you already knew that.

A plate of shredded Coca-Cola brisket with a fork resting in the meat.

Coca Cola Brisket

4.79 / 76 votes
This knee-wobbling tender Coca cola brisket is as easy as tossing brisket and Coca cola, onion soup mix, and chili sauce into the oven or slow cooker and walking away.
David Leite
CourseMains
CuisineSouthern
Servings8 to 12 servings
Calories398 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Resting Time10 minutes
Total Time3 hours 25 minutes

Equipment

  • Faith and a slow cooker

Ingredients 

  • 4 to 6 pounds beef brisket, visible fat untrimmed
  • One (12-ounce) can Coca-Cola*
  • 1 envelope dried onion soup mix, (yes, seriously)
  • 1 cup bottled chili sauce, such as Heinz, (may substitute ketchup or as as reader Ryan suggests: ketchup mixed with hot sauce)

Instructions 

  • To make the Coca Cola Brisket in your slow cooker, see the Slow Cooker Variation below.
    To make the Coca Cola Brisket on the stovetop, preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  • Pat the brisket dry with paper towels. Place the brisket in a nonreactive roasting pan or a glass baking dish just large enough to snugly fit the brisket.
  • Mix the Coke, chili sauce, and dried onion soup mix in a bowl and pour it over the brisket. Cover the baking dish or roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil. Roast the brisket until tender, about 30 minutes per pound (so figure 2 to 3 hours total, depending on the size of your brisket).
  • Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, skim the fat from the surface of the pan juices and discard. Pour the defatted pan juices into a gravy boat or, if a thicker consistency is desired, pour the juices into a saucepan and simmer until reduced slightly.
  • Trim any visible fat from the brisket, then thinly slice it against the grain. Pile the slices of brisket on a platter and pass the warm pan juices on the side.

Notes

Slow Cooker Variation

This four-ingredient braised brisket recipe just got even simpler. Place the brisket in the slow cooker. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the brisket. Cook on low for 9 hours. Transfer the meat to a cutting board to rest. Skim any fat from the surface of the sauce. If a thicker sauce is desired, pour the sauce into a saucepan and simmer until reduced to the desired consistency. Slice or shred the brisket and serve with the sauce.
[Editor’s Note: Bear in mind, no two slow cookers are exactly alike, just as no two cooks are exactly alike. This slow-cooker approach worked really, really well for us, although if you have a different slow-cooker cooking technique you want to try by all means, do so. And, natch, we’d love if you’d share it with us in a comment below.] Curious to hear more about working magic with your slow cooker? Peruse our entire selection of slow cooker recipes.
The Southern Foodways Alliance

Adapted From

The SFA Community Cookbook

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Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 398 kcalCarbohydrates: 10 gProtein: 48 gFat: 17 gSaturated Fat: 6 gMonounsaturated Fat: 8 gCholesterol: 141 mgSodium: 1038 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 5 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2010 Sara Roahen | John T. Edge. Photo © 2010 Renee Brock. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Until I bought the ingredients for this Coca Cola brisket recipe, I’d never bought a packet of onion soup mix in my entire life. This recipe seemed so improbable. It’s one of those things I just never would have made if it hadn’t been sent to me to test. But there it was, and it seemed like it would be easy, if nothing else. I was really surprised that this turned out to be a solid brisket recipe. In the finished dish, I could not discern the Coke, the chili sauce, or the soup mix. Thank goodness. I ended up with a tender brisket in a mysterious, savory sauce. When I took the brisket out, I let it rest for a few minutes, and I put all the liquid into a gravy separator. I used the degreased liquid as a sauce to spoon over the brisket. It was thin, but tasty. This is one of those recipes that challenges all your assumptions about what can make good food. We’re told to avoid processed food, eat with the seasons, and so on, and that is, for the most part, what I do. Coke and soup mix are season-less and as processed as you can get. But don’t let that scare you away. Your guests will never know.

This Coca Cola brisket is an easy, delicious summer or winter dish that will end up as a great do-over in sandwiches or cold off the plate. One bowl to mix it all up, then into the oven it goes. I did line the baking dish with the foil so there was no clean-up. After it was done, I ran the brisket under the broiler to crisp up the fat layer that I hadn’t trimmed off, per the instructions. I put it in the pan fat side up with a scattering of chopped green onion that a friendly neighbor had delivered fresh from her garden. I reduced the liquid by half and passed it at the table for those who wanted some sauce. I found that it added a dimension that’s different from the usual brisket marinades I’m accustomed to eating.

This Coca Cola brisket recipe really could not be any simpler—unless you make it in a slow cooker. After placing the brisket in my 6-quart slow cooker, I poured the sauce over the meat and set the cooker to low. Nine hours later, I had fork-tender, pull-apart brisket complete with sauce. While the meat rested, I skimmed the fat from the surface of the pan juice and poured the sauce into a saucepan. I then simmered it for 15 minutes, and it reduced nicely. I pulled the beef apart and added it to the sauce. It was slightly sweet with a savory depth that was amazingly delicious. We ate the leftovers in sandwiches the next day, and they were marvelous. This is perfect for dinner after a long workday, a game day party, or any occasion. Truly a spectacular and simple dish!




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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128 Comments

  1. I make this using jellied cranberry sauce and a handful of dates added to the coke and onion soup mix- but I always have so much left over.
    My question is- what can I make using the left over brisket? Would it be good for brisket egg rolls? Or have you ever made something different with the left overs?

    1. Shira, we’re delighted that you enjoyed this recipe and that it turned out so well. There are endless possibilities for leftovers, and you could go in any direction. The brisket egg rolls sound wonderful, and you could also try adding some beef to bowls with rice and your favorite veggies. Load some of the meat onto a roll for a beef dip or wrap it into a burrito. Any additional leftovers may be divided into plastic freezer bags and saved for when you need a last-minute meal.

  2. I was searching for a new way to make brisket for Passover. This will be my 53rd seder.
    Thanks folks, I’m convinced. One question is Pepsi okay or does it have to be Coke?

    1. Judy, we haven’t tested this recipe with Pepsi, but it should work well. If you try it please let us know how it turns out.

  3. 5 stars
    I roast or slow cook brisket at least two to three times a year. This recipe is not only simple but delicious. Five minute prep. Three hours in the oven and Wala, a brisket that is moist not dry and very tasty. The sum is definitely greater than its parts.